"The mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan is seen by many as a test of the alliance's political will and military capabilities. Since the Washington Summit in 1999, the allies have sought to create a 'new' NATO, capable of operating beyond the European theater to combat emerging threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan is NATO's first 'out-of-area' mission beyond Europe. The purpose of the mission is the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The mission has proven difficult, an 'industrial-strength' insurgency according to General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, because it must take place while combat operations against Taliban insurgents continue. The situation in Afghanistan has seen a rise in the overall level of violence due to increased Taliban military operations, an increase in terrorist-related activities, and recent major offensive operations conducted by the allies. […] The 111th Congress continues to support the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan despite some rising opposition influenced in part by a growing negative public opinion in the United States towards the war and the added cost of the expanded war. The Congress has also demanded more integration and cooperation among all parties involved in the stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33627